OYB February 14

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 37, Exodus 38
NT: Matthew 28
Ps: Psalm 34:11-22
Pr: Proverbs 9:9-10

Today´s notable verse:

5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Matthew 20:5-10 (NIV)

For some reason, as I read this passage today, I was struck with the thought of just how controversial - or, at least, unorthodox - it must have been for Christ to give the honor of his first appearance after His resurrection, not to mention, the honor of announcing His resurrection, to women. Such a stark contrast to other cultures or religions, in Christianity women are held to be equal in worth, value, and merit to men. Women have an equal place and calling in the work of the body of Christ. Now, we can debate the nature of leadership and Spiritual appointments - and that debate is a valid one - but even thse few verses demonstrate just how radical Christianity was (and continues to be) compared to contemporary culture and opinion.

9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:9-10 (NIV)

Just a thought reminding me of yesterday's notes on Proverbs, that humility, rather than pride, is the root of the wise receiving instruction and the righteous receiving learning to their benefit.

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - How are you participating in Jesus' Great Commission today in your life? Are you in some way helping make disciples? Are you in some way helping to baptize? Are you teaching people to obey Jesus' commands?

I have known since middle school that I have a calling to missions. God has not yet released me to full-time mission work, but I have had the opportunity to participate in several short-term mission projects. Lord willing, I will be going to Mexico this summer for the fourth time (I have also been to Canada and England, but have always had a heart for central/South America - especially Mexico). I think my calling is less as an evangelist, and more as a teacher. I love teaching children, and would (I think) enjoy teaching and sending out local pastors to start or shepherd churches in their own country. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me when he releases me from the temporary position into which He has led me.

Most Lucrative College Degrees

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Economy

Casting Out Nines references this report, and laments that "math professor" didn't make the list. Interesting which degree takes top honors, though:

degree worth

Image from article linked above.

I guess that economic trough we Chemical Engineering majors faced when I graduated in 2000 has long since evaporated...

OYB February 13

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 35:10-35, Exodus 36
NT: Matthew 27:32-66
Ps: Psalm 34:1-10
Pr: Proverbs 9:7-8

Today´s notable verses:

All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded...

Exodus 35:10 (NIV)

Two things come to mind in this verse, two points of view on the same idea, really: first, that when God commands for us to do something, He gives us the ability to accomplish that which He commands of us. He doesn't leave us to our own means, but provides everything we need. Second, that when God gives us skill, ability, resources, opportunities, etc., we have an obligation to demonstrate good stewardship of that with which He has entrusted us. God does not provide to us merely for our own edification or enjoyment (though He does wish both of those for every one of us!), but so that He may use us as willing participants in carrying out His will.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 10:4-5 (NIV)

For some reason, the idea of seeking the Lord, and Him answering, really sticks out to me. Jesus reiterates this principle for us in the New Testament (Matthew 7:7-8). The second verse reminds me of our OYB reading yesterday, of Moses' radiance after spending time in the Presence of God.

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Proverbs 9:8 (NIV)

I think the primary difference between the wise man and the mocker is pride versus arrogance. A wise man accepts rebuke in humility, recognizing his own imperfection, and desiring every opportunity to conform more fully to pefection. The mocker despises rebuke, because in his pride he does not want his imperfection to be exposed, lest others think less highly of him.

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - Based on this Proverb above, do you ever rebuke anyone? ...When do you feel it is appropriate to rebuke someone? Is it based on a relationship? Is it based on if they ask your opinion on a matter? Will you ever rebuke someone even if not asked an opinion on the matter? Are you careful to not rebuke mockers or the wicked, but only to rebuke the wise? How do you discern who is wise and able to receive a rebuke? Conversely, have you ever been rebuked by someone else? Have you ultimately loved that person for the rebuke? Even if the rebuke stung at the time, were you ultimately appreciative of receiving the rebuke?

The answer, really, is, "it depends." If I am given a role of spiritual authority in someone's life, part of that role is to give rebuke when it is needed. Parents are responsible for rebuking their children, for example; or, if I am serving another as a mentor, I have a similar responsibility. In such situations, offering rebuke is an act of love, and must be handled accordingly. Such a rebuke is an expression of the desire to help someone conform more and more to the standard to which God has called us.

In these examples, I am referring to a rebuke of a person. Another form of rebuke applies to ideas. I think we are much less restricted in rebuking an idea espoused by someone than we are to rebuke that person's character. For example, I have never had a problem debating a doctrinal matter with a teacher or other superior/elder if I believe that person to be teaching incorrect doctrine; however, I would likely never dream of rebuking that same person for some perceived character issue or sin. In such a situation, Jesus' teaching on caring for the plank in my own eye, before helping another with the speck in his eye, applies.

I think I am good at receiving rebuke; at least, I try to be. Generally, discerning between rebuke given in love, and rebuke given otherwise is pretty easy. I am thankful that a brother or sister would love me enough to rebuke me lovingly that, even if I don't agree with the rebuke, will make every effort to receive it graciously, and keep the disagreement to myself - taking it instead later to the Lord in prayer.

Carnival of the Cats 99

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Carnivals, Cats, Pets

Carnival of the Cats #99 has been posted, and I make my grand appearance. You should go have a look!

OYB February 12

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 34, Exodus 35:1-9
NT: Matthew 27:15-31
Ps: Psalm 33:12-22
Pr: Proverbs 9:1-6

Today´s notable verse:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.

Psalm 33:12 (NIV)

David here is talking about the nation of Israel specifically - and also prophetically, about we who are grafted into the nation of God, through our identification with Christ. However, I cannot help but think how blessed my own country has been in its few short centuries of existence, because its founders established it on a firm belief in the providence of God. Take, for example, this quote from Thomas Jefferson, which I have chosen as the tagline for this blog: "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?" Let us never waiver in that belief!

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - I love all of our Proverbs readings about wisdom these days. And obviously I think most of us would agree that we are finding wisdom in the Bible. My question for today is this - can we find wisdom outside of the Bible? ...How about you? Do you think you get wisdom in places outside of the Bible today? Where are those places?

The great thing about Godly wisdom is that it works whether it is applied by a believer or a non-believer. I know of some very wise non-believers, who are applying Biblical wisdom and principles without even knowing it. I don't know if Steven Covey is a Christian, but his works certainly espouse Biblical wisdom and principles. The Bible is my primary source for seeking wisdom; if I'm seeking wisdom concerning something, I go to the Bible. However, I can recognize and appreciate Biblical wisdom when I see it elsewhere.

I Am Still Unsure About This Intrusion!

Filed in PersonalTags: Birds, Cats, Pets, Photos

I don't know about all this attention to the quadruped interloper that invaded my home a week ago. But, so far, it mostly ignores me. Just to be sure, I'll stay way back here in my cage, and occasionally flap my wing at it.

hedwig 004

Hedwig perching in her cage
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Greetings, Friends of My Human

Filed in PersonalTags: Cats, Pets, Photos

I will now be posting here as well. This post will be short, as it is keeping me from valuable napping time.

millie 022

It takes a lot of work to look this good.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Cat Nap

Filed in PersonalTags: Cats, Pets, Photos

So much blogging has Millie all worn out:

millie 038

Guarding the window is such hard work. Er, I mean, blogging is such hard work...
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

South Dakota Votes to Ban Abortion

Filed in Politics, Science, Social IssuesTags: Sanctity of Life

GOP Bloggers reports that the South Dakota house has voted 47-22 to ban abortion, with the sole exception being mortal danger to the mother:

This is throwing down the gauntlet to the culture of death - this isn't warm and fuzzy, this is stern defense of basic human morality. After a century of moral disintegration, finally a courageous deed in service of humanity's true needs.

Indeed.

The pro-aborts are going absolutely psycho. This from How Bout This:

And now, my PRO-CHOICE rant:

Bring it on; this should be entertaining.

So....how many are against abortion but for the death penalty?

Ah yes, the old canard of the moral equivalence crowd. I'll admit, I prefer erring on the side of life, even with the worst of our criminals. However, capital punishment at least has reasonable justification, given the heinousness of the action of those so condemned. Equating the execution of a murderer or other such convict with the murder of an innocent and defenseless unborn child is baseless and asinine.

How many are against abortion but, in general, for pro-active military action?

You mean, pro-active military action that frees 50 million people from the clutches of tyrannical dictators, who rape, pillage, and - yes - kill indiscriminately? You mean, pro-active military action that releases Kurds and other Iraqi political dissidents from the fear of mass extermination, death by shredder, and other horrors? Yes, I'm in favor.

How many are against abortion but are also against the availability of contraceptives to teenagers?

Why should an innocent, defenseless unborn human child die because of the inconvenience caused to a couple teenagers who exercise their freedom of choice by having sex? Since when, by the way, were contraceptives unavailable to teenagers? They seem to be hanging in the aisles of grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations all across the country. Teenagers' money serves suitably as legal tender for the purchase of such contraception.

How many are against abortion but choose never to adopt?

How many abortion mills clinics or abortion advocates propogate adoption as an alternative to abortion? Couples in this country are waiting by the thousands to adopt. No shortage of demand for adoption exists; however, a million or so abortions annually severely inhibits the supply of babies to be adopted.

It seems to me many people need to put their morals where their mouth is: adopt some unwanted kids, protest needless violence, and educate teenagers about the ways to avoid pregnancy (and STD's, while we're at it).

The problem is not with pro-life advocates not putting our "morals where our mouths are", but with pro-abortion advocates not encouraging people NOT to put other things where they don't belong, unless they are willing to accept the consequences. Well over ninety percent of abortions in this country are purely for reasons of convenience. For the record, we do protest needless violence: the violence perpetrated against innocent, defenseless unborn humans.

Next we have this gem from "confusionsetsin":

That didn't take long did it? This is unbelievably immoral and blatantly unconstitutional. If you get raped in South Dakota and become pregnant, the South Dakota House wants to use the threat of criminal sanctions to force you to give birth. As the article notes, this is being done to force a legal challenge by pro-choice groups in hope that this goes all the way to the Supreme Court so they can re-hear the abortion case and issue a new ruling. Unfortunately, the idiots in South Dakota don't realize that because this is not legal in any sense of the word that the lower courts will strike it down completely and will end up strengthening abortion rights in the country.

"Unbelievably immoral"? Protecting the life of unborn humans is "immoral" to this moonbat. "Blatantly unconstitutional"? Please, O sage of constitutional wisdom, show me where abortion is addressed in the U.S. Constitution? Please, great protector of constitutional knowledge, can you explain the Tenth Amendment with respect to abortion? Again, well over ninety percent of abortions are purely for reasons of convenience. Even so, the developing human child is not at fault for incidents of rape or incest. Punish the criminal; don't victimize the innocent.

And this ever-popular means of fear-mongering, brought to us by kristeljohns:

Anyone wanna place bets on whether or not I'll end up treating women who have been injured or rendered infertile due to botched back-alley abortions in my future career in the field of OB/GYN?

I wouldn't worry your pretty little liberal skull about that one; from this one sentence, odds are you're too stupid to make it through medical school. Good start on the field of medical moonbattery, though.

These are children, not a choice. baby aborted in second trimester

God bless you, South Dakota!

OYB February 11

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 32-33
NT: Matthew 26:69-75, Matthew 27:1-14
Ps: Psalm 33:1-11
Pr: Proverbs 8:33-36

Today´s notable verses:

The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Exodus 32:16 (NIV)

What a unique and miraculous blessing to the Israelites: the very Word of God, inscribed by God Himself! Thw points come to mind: first, that the Israelites squandered such a precious gift by inciting the anger of Moses and provoking him to throw down the tablets in his rage. Second, that even this precious gift was but a pale reflection of God's later work:

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

II Corinthians 2:3 (NIV)

God has made each one of us more precious than those stone tablets, since He Himself ascended and shattered Himself on the Cross for our sake, and has engraved His Spirit on our hearts, and in so doing has given us His perfect Law and made it so integral to our lives that our very lives are now identified in it, and in it alone.

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Exodus 33:11 (NIV)

I once heard a teaching concerning Joshua in this verse, that his later accomplishments originated, in part, in this verse. He was with Moses in the tent of meeting, and he stayed. He sought the same intimacy with the Lord that Moses had. He stayed in the place of meeting with the Lord. He longed for the presence and glory of the Lord.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - The Golden Calf readings... Are we so different from the Israelites? Do we make our own versions of “golden calves” today? Do we have idols that we worship? Money? Career? Popularity? Relationships? Addictions? Our Intelligence? Technology? Do these idols stand in the way of our worship of God? Do they stand in the way of our relationship with God? Do these idols defile us?

What amazes me about this incident is that the Israelites turned to Aaron for guidance, and he failed them miserably; yet God still ordained Aaron to be His High Priest - another example of God, in His grace, using people for His purposes despite (and through) their failures.

I think the real sin here was the Israelites' lack of faith, and their willingness to put their trust in something so obviously man-made, while the Presence of the Lord yet remained on the mountain with Moses. Perhaps their actions resulted from taking their eyes off of the mountain, looking to the desert and wilderness, rather than staying focused on God's Presence?

And we are still the same today. Our faith still falters. We still put our trust in all those things mentioned, especially when we take our eyes off of our Lord. And just as Peter, walking on water, began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus, so too do we begin to become overwhelmed by the world when we take our eyes off of Him.